About 200 residents of the Shaw neighborhood staged a march against drugs yesterday that ended with a rally at l4th and W streets NW, an area known for its narcotics activities.
Led by D.C. Del. Walter Fauntroy, Deputy Police Chief Rodwell M. Catoe and the Shaw Junior High School Marching Band, the marchers moved through the Shaw area carrying banners proclaiming "No More Drugs" and "Pushers Leave Our Schools."
They were applauded by some and urged by others to "take your banners to Capitol Hill."
The march was sponsored by the Shaw Citizens Against Drugs and Crime and featured speakers from the Shaw Project Area Committee (PAC), the American Muslim Mission and the D.C. Police Department.
D.C. City Council member Frank Smith (D-Ward 1), who last week introduced a bill that would allow police to designate sections of the city as "narcotics loitering zones," told the group that the measure was needed so that residents can "reclaim their streets."
Ibrahim Mumim, president of the Shaw PAC, told the group that while it can't control the flow of drugs into the country, it can control what goes on in Shaw.
Imam Sultan Muhammad of the Washington Masjid, said the fight against drugs was comparable to the fight against slavery.
"As a muslim, I'd like to put a pusher on national TV and cut him up.
"But this is not an Islamic government here, so do what you can to help the police," he said.
A spokesman for the First District police precinct asked that residents refrain from buying stolen goods because those who do are inadvertently contributing to the narcotics problem.
"When an individual is on drugs, he needs money and the easiest way for him to get it is to break into your home or car and steal property," the spokesman said.
"You'd be surprised how many citizens buy the property thinking they are getting a good deal."
It was the second march in the Shaw coalition's two-week-old war against drugs.
The effort follows a report, recently released by Mayor Marion Barry, that said drug addiction in the District is at an all-time high, and that the city has the second highest rate of alcoholism in the country.
The report said that about 15,000 District residents are drug addicts and that more than half the calls the police department receives are drug related complaints.
The group agreed to meet for another march on June 18 at the Robert F. Kennedy Playground at Sixth and P streets NW.